When it was time to buy a new car a couple of years ago, I said to Jane that whatever we get it won’t be silver or gray. She added white and black to the list. I am sure it is obvious to most of you that silver or gray do seem to be the most common colours for cars. An ICBC report even mentions this in terms of colour of car most likely to get into an accident. Sometimes when we notice ourselves in a parking lot or in traffic surrounded by gray cars, one of us will say, “Boring.”
Now, before anyone with a gray or silver car gets offended, I know people have good reasons for buying cars of those colours. One colleague of mine said they searched from Hope to West Vancouver just to get a gray car of the type they wanted. I also know that when it comes to small SUVs, like the RAV4 we ended up buying, red seems to be to colour of choice, so maybe we are just as boring.
Being Okay with Red
As I was thinking about this, I was suddenly struck by what this says about me. I realize I am fully caught up in the materialism of our culture. I find myself taking pride in a vehicle based on its colour, of all things. Just having a vehicle that is reliable and comfortable is a privilege, and may well be the source of envy for others.
I stopped to consider Matthew 6:19, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy…for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
That is the main theme of the book I am reading right now, You are What You Love by James K. A. Smith. He makes the statement, “you may not love what you think.” As Christians, we all know what we are supposed to say if someone asks, “What do you love?” but the decisions we make and the lifestyle we live reveal things about us that we may not realize. So I need to reflect on what are my hearts desires.
What am I nurturing in my own heart?
Nurturing Hearts is the second phrase in the ACS mission statement. When I am touring new families and refer to that part of the mission statement, I say that we want this to be a place where our hearts are nurtured for the things of God. When I think about my car (and all the other possessions that I have and enjoy), I realize that we need to be very intentional about what that means.
Nurturing Hearts was the part of the mission statement that I was given to speak about at our New Parent Orientation last week. I was given three minutes to talk about that particularly phrase in our mission statement. I think there are many ways in which this happens at ACS, in spite of our shortcomings and misdirected desires.
I told two stories, both connected to students in our school that have particular needs. An important foundation that drives the support we provide is the belief that in God’s eyes all persons have value, all contribute to community, and all deserve the opportunity to flourish. I told two stories to illustrate this.
To the Summit
When I first came to ACS, the grade 7 classes used to study the book Banner in the Sky. As a culmination of that study, they would hike to the top of Mt. Cheam. Lysa Terpstra was a girl in grade 7 who had muscular dystrophy and was confined to a wheelchair. We didn’t want her to miss out on the experience of reaching the top of Mt. Cheam. A Search and Rescue parent in our school fashioned a chair backpack that allowed teachers and parents to take turns carrying Lysa to the summit. That chair is still hanging in our storage room and that story is one we need to keep telling.
Just Like Emily
The second story involves my granddaughter, Hannah, and a girl in her class who also spends much of her time in a wheelchair. Last year, I had the privilege of going with Hannah on the Kindergarten Transportation field trip. As we reached the end of each section of the trip and were hurrying to get to the next, Hannah would say to me, “Papa, we have to wait for Emily.”
She has been nurtured to understand that everyone belongs and we need to live that out. And I know she is blessed by Emily as well. This became particularly evident when Hannah received a birthday present and she was most excited that it was “just like what Emily has!”
I pray that we continue to live out what it means to nurture hearts for the things of God. And that means we need to examine our own hearts and ask “Where is your treasure?”